Of Nouns and Pain

I am way overdue for an update and there are multiple posts to be made. Today’s topic is in the header.

First: no tumour marker news. The cancer centre at Jewish General was a mad house yesterday* and the blood tech somehow forgot to do a test for thyroglobulin. It’ll likely be another two weeks before I know how that’s going, but it’s been going well, so I am feeling optimistic there.

Second: pain news is mostly good. I have had a few headaches but nothing like the really bad one. The Gabapentin handles the ambient pain, though my hands are still pretty sensitive. The gloves work for bass playing, and I have a pair of giant Mr. Clean gloves for cleaning things to keep my hands away from chemicals. Doing laundry in gloves sucks but is better than if I don’t wear them. I am going to have to figure out something for cooking. Food and water are fine, but the open heat of sautéing vegetables is a problem. Last night I handled some pasta in boiling water and felt it afterwards in my hands.

I’m starting to get the blistered or calluses or whatever they are and the peeling that goes with hand-and-foot syndrome. But it’s relatively manageable. I’m just way more aware of it.

Third: Gabapentin is the reason I have no ambient pain. But one of its side effects is cognitive. Some people describe it as a brain fog, but for me, it is much more specific: I forget nouns, and especially proper nouns. And only in speech. Writing seems fine. At band practice on Tuesday we had a discussion about whether it was worse to forget adjectives (and presumably adverbs) or nouns. I argued nouns are way worse. Let me demonstrate. I will replace specific nouns with vague nouns like “deal” or “dude” in the following sentences, all of which actually happened the last week. Dude made traditionally be gendered but in our house it has been used to refer to cats and objects from time to time.

“Please pass me the silver deal.”

“I reread that dude’s classic essay on artificial intelligence and had a major realization.”

“You probably need to run that deal in order to fix your computer.”

Now, for comparison, let’s keep the nouns and replace adjectives and adverbs with “fuckin’.”

“Please pass me the fuckin’ remote control.”

“I reread Alan Turing’s fuckin’ essay on artificial intelligence and had a fuckin’ realization.”

“You fuckin’ need to run recovery mode in order to fix your computer.”

The second set of statements is much clearer than the first, and “fuck” is such a flexible word in the English language that I believe that if necessary it could replace all adjectives and adverbs with comparably less loss of meaning.

I rest my case.

Coming up in the near future: Fatigue and Nausea: notes on a dialectic; still later: Thoughts on what makes people with cancer angry, based on a tiny bit of evidence; even later: What does “tolerate” mean?

* People were seriously stressed out. Lines were long. It honestly didn’t seem that bad to me but people around me were all worked up.

ALSO, Public Service Announcement: if you are sitting in a cancer centre waiting room, it is not okay for you to blast country music from the tiny, shitty speakers on your phone. I NEED QUIET, I AM READING ALAN TURING. Thank you.